What I’m Lovin’ in December

The Hubs’ family from England came to visit for 3 weeks around Thanksgiving which is my excuse for missing what I’m lovin’ in November – but I do apologize! Hopefully this fun list will make up for it!

december

1. Challenging myself

While I have made it nearly 3 years without sewing a garment that required closures, I’m working hard to challenge myself to build my skill set to avoid stagnation {but isn’t stagnation so comfortable sometimes?!}

I’m currently working on a Darling Ranges dress that [obviously] includes a button closure. It’s cut and partially sewn. I’m hoping to finish it up in the last few days of my Winter Break so stay tuned!

darling-ranges

2. Knitting

Thanks to my friend Shanika for the support and encouragement (and many tips), I am making some progress on the shawl kit I purchased recently from an amazing local yarn shop, Copious Fibers.

first-color

3. Ugly Sweater Block

I ran across this paper-pieced pattern on Instagram and fell.in.love.! I found some hot pink cat fabric (the cats are wearing gold bow ties which screamed “pick me!”) in the remnant bin at JoAnn’s that I knew would make the purrrfect “Crazy Cat Lady Ugly Sweater Block.”

sweater-block

I turned it into a zip pouch {see it here} for my quilt guild’s annual holiday party Dirty Santa swap.

If you’re looking for some entertainment, browse the #UglySweaterBlock hashtag on Instagram to see all of the blocks others made – they’re hilarious!

4. This roll-up changing pad (DIY)

baby-mat-1

The mat is super-duper easy to sew and apparently it’s quite useful! I found the tutorial in a post full of practical baby shower gifts HERE via Sew in Love.

I made this gift last minute for the Hubs’ coworker so I used scrap quilting cotton that a friend’s mom donated to my stash and some double fold elastic I had on hand. I’m always excited when I can make a dent in my stash to create something handy.

baby-mat-2

5. Crafty Feast

As always, my sister and I had such a blast at Crafty Feast! It’s our favorite holiday market. We love the chance to support local makers and stock up on holiday gifts.

6. Self-Created Podcast

podcast

My friend Shanika launched a podcast with her friend Jernell and I am loving listening in on their conversations! They really balance each other and share some great tips {their Skin Care Episode has me wondering I haven’t invested in a good eye cream yet…}

As I finish this post, I’m launching Episode 3 so I can hear all their tips for self-care just in time for the new year!

You can find all of the Self-Created Podcast episodes HERE on SoundCloud & follow them on Instagram & Facebook for sneak peeks.

7. Resolutions

I’m not really great about setting [or sticking to] resolutions, but here’s one I think I will attempt to embrace 😉

long-walks

What are some of your resolutions for 2017? I’d love to hear them!

What I’m Lovin’ in December

christmas

I hope you are reading this post while snuggled under your favorite blanket in front of a warm fire with hot cocoa in hand. {Or at least I hope you’re channeling that image}

I wanted to pop in to share a light-hearted read with you: the list of what I’m lovin’ this month!

resliced by Jordan (1)

Because of all the time I was able to spend sitting on my couch thinking of all the things I love, most of this post contains moments from my wisdom-tooth-recovery at the beginning of the month {It was a slow recovery, but I’m feeling better now!}.

1. Leaf Lookin’

I love when fall transitions to winter and the grounds become covered in the most beautiful blanket of leaves…and the sky becomes a little more visible through the trees. It’s just magnificent!

blue ridge mtn

This year the Hubs and I spent Thanksgiving at his grandfather’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive there was absolutely amazing! The photo above is from Popcorn Overlook. I wish I could bottle it up and send all of you a piece, but for now you’ll just have to enjoy the picture 😉

2. The Great British Sewing Bee sewing book

Having my wisdom teeth removed really zapped my energy. I was hoping to have enough energy to sew some while I was at home resting (thinking my only compromise would be a pair of chipmunk cheeks). No such luck.

Since I didn’t have the energy to sew, I gathered up all my sewing books – including one of my newest gifted from my mother-in-law: The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe – and did some sewing-related reading.

sewing bee

The Hubs kept me stocked on Frosties which really helped with healing 😉

The book is stuffed with tutorials for closet staples. It even included five full-size patterns which is exciting! One of them is a pair of men’s trousers which the Hubs is super excited about – he is quite tall and has the opposite problem I do: he struggles with finding clothing long enough. After plugging along with my Moji pants, I’m feeling more confident that maybe one day I could make him some pants! We’ll see…

3. Iris Apfel

iris 2

While stuck at home recovering from my wisdom teeth removal, I realized that I’m not a great television watcher and had no idea what to watch (after binge’ing on Friends…again…because it’s the only show I could think of).

My friend Markessce gave me lots of great recommendations – including Iris which he recommended because she reminds him of me.

iris

{Click the image to see more quotes from Iris}

loved the documentary! Iris is absolutely fabulous and so witty! If you haven’t watched the documentary on Netflix – add it to your list! {You can watch the trailer here & read 11 inspiring quotes from Iris here}

4. Knitting

knitting

Over the days I spent recovering from my wisdom teeth, I picked my knitting needles back up and finished the ear warmer I’d been working on. I took a knitting class over the summer, but I didn’t catch on as quickly as I’d hoped and struggled a little during the class. I went home and started searching the internet for help. I ran across Good Knit Kisses on YouTube and found her videos super helpful!

Then I started searching for beginner knitting projects. I thought I’d try to make some dish cloths because I heard they were easy, but then I ran across this ear warmer that looked even easier [and way cuter!]. I am kind of smitten with it and wore it to the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Market with my sister {cuz why not wear your handmade goodies to a handmade fair?!}.

ear warmer

Next up: I want to learn how to use circular needles so I can make this infinity scarf!

If you like to knit, follow my Knitting Pinterest Board!

5. Being a quilt guild member

A few months ago, I joined the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild. It has been such fun! I have enjoyed getting to know all the ladies and being a part of a group that loves sewing as much as I do.

At the guild’s holiday party, we decided to do a gift exchange. The rule was that everyone had to make something smaller than 18 inches to exchange. We played by the white elephant rules – there was lots of “oooh-ing” and “ahhh-ing” and gift stealing 😉

I mean – look at this gorgeous array of handmade presents!

quilt guild

Clockwise from the top left: a set of 3 vinyl-front WIP bags on top of their draw-string gift bag, an open-wide pouch (pattern also from Noodlehead), a zip-top pouch & Tula Pink fat eighth, my envelope clutch, patchy mug rug and large zip-top pouch.

For my gift to exchange, I made a tried-and-true envelope clutch {pattern by Noodlehead}.

envelope clutch 2

A few weeks ago I snagged a bag of Liberty of London scraps from Mad for Fabric on Instagram. The scraps are so small that they can’t really be pieced together so I used a glue stick to place them where I wanted them on a piece of batting then zig-zag stitched between them construct the flap. The method worked out pretty well.

My new friend Francine stole the bag when it was her turn – and lucky Francine…you can’t steal the gift more than once!

6. Crafty Feast

As usual, my sister and I had a blast shopping at Crafty Feast!

crafty feast

In the photobooth before the doors opened (yes, we got there early!)

We took over the Cola Indie Maker’s Instagram account to live post the event. I made sure to tag vendors in the posts so browse what we found and follow the shops! We discovered a lot of great new shops and loved seeing our local favorites 🙂

7. Supporting Friends & Makers

The holidays can be a frivolous time. It’s easy to find yourself mindlessly stocking up on meaningless gifts or putting your Amazon Prime subscription to good use (I’m not judging! #BeenThereDoneThat).

I think it’s really important to support handmade businesses as often as you can. As someone who has owned a handmade business, I know exactly what that sale means. It means the world: your purchase tells that artist “I believe in you!” / “Keep going!” / “Your skills are worth sharing!”

The president of my quilt guild has the cutest Etsy shop. When I saw that she would be at Crafty Feast, I started stalking her shop and asking her constantly about the bags she was making (we both love Noodlehead patterns). She’s mega-talented and super-duper sweet and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of her adorable bags!

I wanted all.the.bags, but settled on this ahh-dorable zip pouch (because who doesn’t need another zip pouch?!):

roar haus

The fabric made me swoon and the gold accents made me feel so fancy! I love it. It’s already been in my purse non-stop since I bought it – holding my favorite homemade lip balm {I’ll share the recipe soon!} and other little essentials.

Every time I pull this pouch out of my purse I’m reminded of Amber and how sweet and encouraging she is. Always air on the side of buying it when it comes to handmade businesses (unless, of course, that money was earmarked for your electric bill because you can’t enjoy it if you can’t see it! 😉 ). These makers appreciate your purchase more than you know! And if you’re going to buy “stuff,” it should be stuff that’s going to bring you joy.

{Visit Roar Haus on Etsy to see what Amber’s been making. If you’re looking for more handmade businesses to support, read my re-cap of Vintage Charlotte last year with links to several of my favorite shops or browse the Cola Indie Maker’s Instagram page to see all the awesome shops we found at Craft Feast – just click the shop names tagged in the post to check out their shops.}

Merry Christmas!

tree

I’d love to tell you this is my tree {HA!}, but it’s actually just a beautiful nautical-themed tree my sister and I fell in love with in a shop in Greenville.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with warm memories and lots of snuggles!

Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.

What I’m Lovin’ in September

Yes, I’m a total slacker. I’ve skipped a few What I’m Lovin’ posts, but I’m trying hard to get back on track! I hope you didn’t miss these super fun lists too much 😉

sept

Here’s the short list of what I’m lovin’ in September:

1. My Day Tripper Top

day tripper

Lately I’ve been really focused on building my handmade wardrobe – and trying to finally tackle some of the patterns in my “to make” pile.

Boy am I glad I tackled the Day Tripper Top because I love it! You can read all about my love for the pattern here.

2. Our shed

shed

We got a shed!

I know, the fact that this is so exciting just goes to show how very old I am. The dogs love it – they think we bought them a giant playhouse. The Hubs loves it – finally somewhere to store his stinky hockey and lacrosse gear that will help quiet my complaints about the smell. And I love it because it has become the new man cave – and the old [indoor] man cave has simply become “The Cave.”

Upon evacuating The Cave of all smelly sports gear, my sister and I promptly painted it purple! It’s my new favorite room.

man cave

3. Making my own veggie dogs

veggie dog

This sounds ludicrous, but it was SO easy! And tasty. And now I know what liquid smoke is.

I followed Brewing Happiness’ recipe for Baked Veggie Dogs and I was so impressed with how quickly these came together! And how many people can say they not only know all of the ingredients in their hot dog, but can pronounce them too?! Very worth it. {Pin the recipe here.}

To go with the theme [of faux “grilling out”], I made this recipe for Extra Crispy Oven Baked French Fries – delightful! {Pin the recipe here.}

4. My first Tank Dress

tank dress

The fabric is a quilting cotton print from Anna Maria Horner that I snagged during Sew Charleston‘s fabric destashing on Instagram. The pattern is the Tank Dress by Sew Caroline – she had a sale last week that I couldn’t deny (you should sign up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when she runs another sale!).

I didn’t alter the pattern at all – I usually shorten them, but I was worried that the curved hemline would make it seem too short. I’m glad I left it as is 🙂

I also opted for the elastic casing in the back and I love how it gives the dress more shape.

5. Seeing others enjoy something I’ve made them

Remember how I made my Mom a Beach Quilt? Well, a few weeks ago she sent me this sweet picture of her enjoying it on the beach:

mom quilt

I’ll treasure this sweet picture forever!

6. Podcasts

Podcasts might be the best thing to happen to me in terms of training (because remember all the other thoughts I have while running?) – podcasts are perfect for long runs!

They are probably the worst thing to happen to everyone around me because after almost every run, I send a billion links to everyone I know telling them they need to listen to this podcast…and this one!

Here are a few of my top picks (click the image to be taken to the podcast’s site for more information):

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

so_money_logo

My favorite episode so far was with Mrs. Frugalwoods (listen here!).

I loved hearing about how the Frugalwoods stay frugal and focused on their goal of retiring by age 33.

 

 

The Anxiety Podcast

anxiety podcast

I find myself listening to this podcast beyond just the long runs (like on my lunch break, on my way home from work, while sewing). Tim JP Collins shares true strategies you can use to get through stress (I love that I can use what I’m hearing).

This episode about how natural movement can help with anxiety made me want to go for a hike and jump on rocks (you know, that thing that people call “play” which we mistakenly think is only for children 😉 )

 

The Millennial Podcast

millennialLogo

Speaking of quarter-life-induced-stress, I’m also thoroughly enjoying listening to the Millennial Podcast. I so appreciate how totally honest Megan Tan is with sharing her story and her struggle. Start from the beginning to follow her story (go ahead and subscribe because you’ll definitely want to continue to follow her journey!).

 

NPR’s Fresh Air

fresh air

I’m not always near the radio in the evenings so I love catching up on Terry Gross’ interviews on the weekend while sewing.

 

 

NPR’s Story Corps

story corpsThese short insights into other people’s life stories are so powerful.

Most powerful to date: Traffic Stop – listen here.

 

 

 

7. Craft Fairs

You can tell fall is on its way when all the holiday craft fairs start popping up. I love craft fairs (as you should well know from this post) and I love going with my sister!

Earlier this month, we attended Martha’s Market Preview Night and it was so much fun!

martha's market

As my sister said, the floating hat and crooked sign are proof that we had a l-o-n-g week!

And then we went to the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville!

indie craft parade

And then we stumbled upon the Farm Fresh Fair in Fountain Inn – it was literally a giant craft fair on a farm! It was fabulous (despite the heat).

farm fresh

Next up (THIS SATURDAY!): The Thrifted Sisters party – shopping vintage clothes while sipping Loveland Coffee?! Talk about dream selfie date (yes, I’ll be going alone. My sister has something planned with her husband. And my husband will be cheering on the Gamecocks [I don’t allow him to waste his spare ticket on someone who could care less about football…aka me]). If you’re local, you should stop by and shop with me!

thrifted sisters

Follow the gals on Instagram for SNEAK PEEKS! {Click the image to visit their IG account}

And only a few more months until Crafty Feast!

8. It’s National Sewing Month!

So obviously I’m planning to finish the month by sewing all.the.things.! Actually, this weekend I’ll be moving all the goodies from my sewing room into our spare room (aka: “The Cave”) temporarily so that the contractors can come and eliminate the MOLD growing in one of the closets. Why didn’t someone warn me how LAME being an adult is?! #IdRatherBeSewing

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, stay tuned because I may be posting some purge items that will be up for grabs (as I’m not sure what I’ll discover hidden in the nooks and crannies of my craft room). If we’re not Facebook friends, shoot me an email (ejslice@gmail.com) to let me know what kind of gently used (perhaps even UNUSED – who knows!) craft supplies you’re interested in. If I find some, I can send you an email to arrange shipping.

I hope you all had a magnificent September and STAY TUNED because my birthday is next month and I’ve got some super duper fun things planned to celebrate with you!!